The deadly Bronx apartment fire was caused by a faulty space heater, fire chief says

Firefighters stand in front of the building in the Bronx
New York City Fire Department officials responding to the apartment building fire in the Bronx. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
  • 19 people, including 9 children, were killed in an apartment-building fire the Bronx on Sunday.
  • The FDNY chief said a space heater started it, and that it spread to people in the whole building.
  • At least 13 people are hospitalized with life-threatening injuries, officials said.

The fire that killed 19 people in the Bronx borough of New York City on Sunday was started by a faulty space heater, the New York City Fire Commissioner said.

“The marshals have determined through physical evidence, through firsthand accounts from the residents, that this fire started in a bedroom in a portable electric heater,” Daniel Nigro told a press conference on Sunday, according to NBC News.

He said that the smoke spread through the whole building, likely aided by open doors, NBC reported.

An unnamed city official told The New York Times that fire officials believed the space heater had been running uninterrupted for days in an attempt to add more heat to the building, even though the building’s heat was turned on at the time.

At least nine children were killed in the blaze, and at least 13 others were hospitalized with life-threatening injuries, Reuters reported, citing officials.

Nigro said that people affected by the fire were found on every floor of the building, as well as on stairways, NBC reported.

“Smoke spread throughout the building, thus the tremendous loss of life and other people fighting for their lives,” he said, according to The Times.